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Best medical transcription services of 2020

Doctor working on laptop
Image Credit: Pixabay (Image credit: Image Credit: Pixabay)

Dictating patient notes is a common clinical practice, and having them transcribed by a secretary can be essential when you have a busy workload. But sometimes that just isn't practical, whether from staff absence, expense, or simply when you're on the go. In which case transcription services can become a very handy tool indeed, especially when updating patient records in your EHR or EMR software.

While there are some medical practice management software platforms that include automated transcription as a feature, these are not as accurate as transcription by a human, or even always available. This is where third-party transcription services can really come in handy, and while some do offer automated options their focus is overwhelmingly on human transcriptions.

However, unlike normal transcription services these are provided by people trained in using medical terminology - usually registered as a Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS) or Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CHDS) - so as to reduce the potential for errors or misspellings. 

Additionally, medical transcriptions services usually have to be security compliant to ensure that patient confidentiality won't be breached by the use of such services, so usually require submission either via a direct phone number, secure smartphone app, or audio upload feature on the transcription company website. Once completed, they can then send the transcription via a HIPSAA-compliant connection, and you can set up your notes in your software and set up any required invoices for patients in your medical billing software

Because of these issues not all transcription services are compliant, so to make choosing easier we'll feature the best in medical transcription services, especially where human transcription is the main featured service option.

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Best medical transcription services - at a glance

  1. Acusis
  2. SmartMD
  3. EHR Transcriptions
  4. DataMatrix Medical
  5. The Dictation Source
  6. M*Modal

(Image credit: Acusis)

1. Acusis

The big company scribe provider

Multiple upload methods
Manage your dictations
Opaque pricing

Acusis provides multiple options for dictation-capture for use with their medical transcription services. The first is AcuVoice, which is a cloud-based system by which you can dial in to a toll-free number and use a PIN to record your dictation. You can then use a web interface to then access, replay, edit, and otherwise manage your recorded dictations. The second option is AcuVoice, which is an app for iOS devices, which allows you to record dictations directly through an iPhone or iPad.

Alternatively, Acusis can provide an option to integrate with your existing EHR using AcuSuite, which is also a cloud-based system which can record audio from a number of sources available in most clinical facilities. Additionally, AcuSuite can also provide document processing and management, electronic signature, print, fax, and email services. 

Whichever method is used, Acusis have two levels of quality control, the first being online editing followed by a separate offline editing process to remove any errors.

Although Acusis don't provide any pricing information on their website, do note that the company is targeted to serving medium-to-large providers and may require a contract.

Read our review of Acusis here.

(Image credit: SmartMD)

2. SmartMD

Smart transcription for the MD

Free trial
No contracts
Patient tracking
Clear pricing

SmartMD is a modern transcription service that is available as a standalone service or as part of a wider suite of medical services. Dictation can be done over the phone through a toll-free number, or through a smartphone app for iOS devices, or have recordings uploaded directly. Additionally, with EHR integration everything can be directly delivered into your patient's records.

SmartMD adds a number of additional value propositions to its service, not least guaranteed delivery by 9am the next day, and they can provide receipts by email or fax as required. There's also a feature to track a list of patients that need to be dictated for, and status reports. They also provide a range of other services such as managed billing, referrals, and documentation.

Another positive is that SmartMD makes their pricing structure very clear, with plans starting from 7.9c per line. There are multiple plans, offering ever increasing features and storage plans, for only nominal price increases. Additionally, there is no contract or minimum use to lock clients in, and there's a free trial available.

SmartMD also offers phone support seven days a week, and while most people would hope not to use it, by all accounts it's very well run and delivers what clients need when they need it.

Overall, SmartMD offers a wide range of features with a clear pricing structure, and the company does a good job to support clients.

Read our review of SmartMD here.

(Image credit: EHR Transcriptions)

3. EHR Transcriptions

Specialist dictation services

Specialist team
Triple checks
EHR records updated
High security connection

EHR Transcriptions is a service provided by SameDay, which specializes in different transcription services. It's EHR Transcription service is aimed at hospitals and large clinical providers which have a dedicated technology manager, and allows doctors to make their dictations and have their EHR records updated automatically.

The main ways to provide dictation are via a free telephone account, digital voice recorder, computer microphone, or iPhone app. The recording is sent through a highly secure 528-bit encrypted VPN connection, and the transcription is assigned to staff by specialty to improve accuracy. The transcriptionists all work from the same office, so it's always the same people working on your reports rather than outsourced, and support is available seven days a week, with extended hours.

Work is triple checked with a manual reviews, followed through by an automated spelling/grammar check, before being human-proofed again. The whole process is intended to take less than 24 hours, and doctors can view, edit, sign, fax, print or download the finished document from the system with a single click.

There are no set up fees and no long-term contract, but you will still need to ask the company for a quote to price the service you need.

Read our review of EHR Transcriptions here.

(Image credit: DataMatrix Medical)

4. DataMatrix Medical

Transcribe into the data matrix

Android + iOS apps
Suite of services
Voice recognition

DataMatrix Medical use qualified transcriptionists and virtual scribes to provide transcription services and update EHR records. Although it advertises a general workaround of 24 hours, it also promotes a turnaround time of as little as 2 hours if required.

They also offer additional services to help increase the administrative efficiency of your practice, not least document scanning and general paperwork management that works directly with your EHR system. DataMatrix Medical also provides other integrated services, such as authorization and referral management, coding, and billing solutions.

Even if you just want to focus on medical transcription, DataMatrix covers this by allowing dictation audio to be sent via a smartphone app (iOS and Android available) or by an uploaded digital recording, which is manually transcribed and proof-read and finished within 24 hours. However, for doctors already using voice recognition software built into their EHR solution, DataMatrix Medical also offer to clean up and correct notes directly in your EHR.

There's no upfront pricing provided, but DataMatrix Medical advertise a free trial and no long-term contract.

Read our review of DataMatrix Medical here.

(Image credit: The Dictation Source)

5. The Dictation Source

A source of scribes

Android + iOS
Live scribes
Expanded services

The Dictation Source offers a number of service options for clinics beyond just transcription, including speech recognition, coding, and virtual scribes to cover patient visits.

The transcription service offers recording and uploading via a toll-free 800 number, plus apps for both iOS and Android devices, as well as digital manual uploads. The service aims to increase efficiency by offering unlimited macros & templates for every medical specialty, and EHR/EMR entry can be done manually or through a HL7 interface.

There are features for real-time reporting, plus online editing, printing and electronic signing available, as well as secured email and fax options. 

They do also offer an expanded range of services to help with document management, not least virtual scribes to provide real-time transcription and update EHR during a patient's visit. There's also an option to provide coding and document management services as well.

Although no fee structure is advertised, The Dictation Source doesn't charge start-up or minimum fees. There is also an option to use automated speech recognition services for a lower cost.

Read our review of The Dictation Source here.

M*Modal

(Image credit: M*Modal)

6. M*Modal

AI automation
Human transcription option
Scaleable service provider

M*Modal offers a range of automated and human-transcription services specifically for the medical services sector.

A key focus is using AI to automate processes as much as possible, whether it's speech-enabled EHR, automated charting, and integral speech reporting for improving workflows.

As well as offering a strong speech and AI platform, M*Model also provides Clinical Documentation Improvement (CDI) software to automate queries and standardize practices, as well as provide insights via analytics.

In addition to this, there are also automated service provisions for Hierarchical Condition Category (HCC) management as well as for diagnostic imaging.

In terms of human transcription, the company boasts over 8,000 transcribers who work on 300 million minutes of transcription every year, making their service especially scaleable as required.

Read our review of M*Modal here.